The NOAA Fisheries, Fisheries Statistics Division has automated data summary programs that anyone can use to rapidly and easily summarize U.S. commercial fisheries landings.

Data Caveats

red snapper

Red Snapper (Lutjanus campechanus)
Photo Credit: Manooch and Raver, � Copyright

Commercial Fishery Landings

All annual and monthly landing summaries will return only non confidential landing statistics. Federal statutes prohibit public disclosure of landings (or other information) that would allow identification of the data contributors and possibly put them at a competitive disadvantage. Most summarized landings are non confidential, but whenever confidential landings occur they have been combined with other landings and usually reported as "finfishes, unc" (unclassified) or "shellfishes, unc." Total landings by state include confidential data and will be accurate, but landings reported by individual species may, in some instances, be misleading due to data confidentiality.

Landings data do not indicate the physical location of harvest but the location at which the landings either first crossed the dock or were reported from.

The summarized landings retrieved by the four commercial fisheries queries represent the most current data available. These data are updated weekly.

Landings are reported in pounds of round (live) weight for all species or groups except univalve and bivalve mollusks, such as clams, mussels, oysters and scallops, which are reported as pounds of meats (excludes shell weight). Our landings data may sometimes differ from state-reported landings due to our reporting of mollusks in meat weights rather than gallons, shell weight, or bushels. Also, we include some species such as kelp and oysters that are sometimes reported by state agricultural agencies and may not be included with state fishery agency landings data.

Many fishery products are gutted or otherwise processed while at sea and are landed in a product type other than round (whole) weight. The NOAA Fisheries has standard conversion factors for the majority of the commonly caught species that convert their landing weights from any product type to whole weight. It is the whole weight that is displayed in our web site landing statistics. Caution should be exercised when using these statistics. An example of a potential problem is when landings statistics are used to monitor fishery quotas. In some situations, specific conversion factors may have been designated in fishery management plans or Federal rule making that differ from those historically used by NOAA Fisheries in reporting landings statistics.

The dollar value of our landings are reported as nominal (current at the time of reporting) values. Users can use the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the Producer Price Index (PPI) to convert these nominal landing values into real (deflated) values.

Landings do not include aquaculture products except for clams, mussels and oysters.

In the monthly landings summary, some data are not reported by the actual month of landing. Data not reported by month have a month name of Nsp (not specified). Month is indicated as Nsp for Connecticut and Delaware which only report annual landings or for other states such as Massachusetts which have some landings which aren't reported by the actual month of landing.

When landings are summarized for "Atlantic States" or by "South Atlantic States," Florida data include only landings made on Florida's east coast and inland counties and waters; they don't include landings made at Florida west coast ports. When "Gulf States" are selected, the Florida landings are for Florida's west coast ports only and do not include landings at east coast ports or inland waters or counties. Selecting "Florida, State Total" as the geographical area will summarize landings for Florida's Gulf and Atlantic coasts and for inland counties and waters. Pacific landings summarized by state include an artificial “state” designation of “At-Sea Process, Pac.” This designation was assigned to landings consisting of primarily whiting caught in the EEZ off Washington and Oregon that were processed aboard large vessels while at sea. No Pacific state lists these fish on their trip tickets which are used to report state fishery landing, hence the at-sea processor designation was used to insure that they would be listed as a U.S. landing.

When selecting the SPECIES option box to summarize landings, use the species look-up table rather than entering a common species name because NOAA Fisheries may not use the same name in its master species coding table that you use; i.e., you may get an output saying there were no matching records. You should get accurate and complete data if you select the SPECIES options of "All Species Individually" or "All Species Combined." Avoid entering broad common names such as "flounder" in the SPECIES selection box because some flatfish may be listed by other common names such as dab, plaice, sole, etc. You may not get landings data for some of the listed species because these species or market categories were used as identifiers in other data bases such as the processed product survey or our monthly report of the volume of fishery products held in cold storage. Also be aware that some group names such as salmon only indicate landings of salmonoid fishes that were not identified by individual species. You have to combine "salmon" landings with the landings by individual species to get total salmon landings.

The fishing gear used to capture many species were sometimes not reported, ("Not Coded" or "Unspecified Gear") or were commonly reported as "Combined Gears" meaning that multiple types of gear were fished. Landings for these unknown gear types sometimes exceed landings reported by individual gear, depending on the species.

Landings for Florida inland counties and waters are unavailable for years prior to 1962 and the landings indicated by our query programs are known to be very incomplete for 1996 and 1998.

The Louisiana trip ticket landings data show the physical location of where the dealer reports from, not necessarily where the dock it was unloaded at.

Landing summaries are based on data extracted from the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commissions PacFIN database and from eight NOAA Fisheries data bases, data bases that overlap in time and geographic coverage. Although numerous checks have been made to verify the completeness and accuracy of total landings by state and year, it is impossible to verify data accuracy at all summary levels. If you should find any errors or questionable data, please notify us at our e-mail address.

Specialized Programs

The "specialized" query that summarizes landings by distance from shore reports preliminary data that are annually published in "Fisheries of the U.S." These data are not updated and may differ significantly from landings summarized by the other four query programs.

Leading Ports:

The leading port query programs summarize the pounds and dollar value (in millions) of commercial fishery landings at major U. S. fishing ports. Though some ports in recent years are listed with landings as low as 5 million pounds or dollars, most ports prior to 1993 are not listed unless their landings exceed 10 million pounds or dollars. Some ports with landings exceeding 10 million pounds or dollars may not be listed due to data confidentiality.

Vessel Documentation:

Starting in August 2001 we only indicate United States Coast Guard (USCG) vessel ownership information for craft with current issuance and expiration dates on their Certificate of Documentation or for those craft who have not exceeded their expiration date by more than 180 days. We won't report ownership information for craft missing an issuance or an expiration date because these vessels may have been sold and the new owners may choose not to have them documented or because some prior or new owners may choose to have them numbered by a state rather than documented by the USCG. Under this second set of circumstances, the prior owner could otherwise incorrectly be indicated as the current owner.

As of March 2003 we no longer are provided with the initial documentation issuance date for the current owner and, therefore, we now report the issuance date listed for the most recent data that we have gotten from the USCG. The absence of an expiration date, or when an expiration date is passed, does not necessarily indicate a vessel is technically out of documentation because the USCG sometimes puts these craft into an investigative status.

In addition to listing each vessel's service as indicated by the owner, we also list all endorsements held by craft. The trade indicators are considered to be more reliable descriptors of the types or uses of vessels than is the service indicator. An asterisk is used to indicate missing or unreported data for all vessel or ownership variables

This page was last modified February 18, 2009 .

Photo Credits
All fish pictures, unless otherwise noted, are used with the permission of Charles S. Manooch, III and Duane Raver, Jr. These copyrighted pictures are from their book, "Fishermen's Guide: Fishes of the Southeastern United States".